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Posted September 10, 2015

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Students Explore Community through Adapted PE

A horse ranch specializing in hippotherapy is just one of several field trips for the special needs students at Hayes and Wilson middle schools.

More than two dozen special needs students at Hayes and Wilson middle schools recently took a trip to a Corrales horse ranch specializing in hippotherapy, one of many trips planned this school year for students in the adapted PE classes. 

On the horizon: bowling, rock climbing, swimming, mall walking, the ABQ BioPark and several performances at Popejoy Hall.

"All of our students are special needs students, and my goal for them is to get out in the community and learn a little about those activities that are available to them," said teacher Doris Mertzweiler. "They learn the proper physical and social skills to be appropriate in those settings, and the community also learns our students are able to function in those areas."

Merzweiler, an award-winning teacher, said she and other adapted PE teachers have been able to take their students on field trips thanks to Horizon grants funded through the APS Education Foundation. She also has received grants through Thank America's Teachers.

"I absolutely love the fact that they do so many field trips," said parent Katherine Zurek, whose daughter Jade is a sixth grader at Hayes.

At Four Point Therapy, the students and their families learned a little about hippotherapy which is the incorporation of equine movement and treatment strategies used to achieve functional outcomes and goals. After a presentation and demonstration by owner Debora Lanphere, students got to pet, brush and even walk the horses.

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